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8 Wintry Words to Defrost Your Vocabulary

pay a compliment

Express praise or commendation to someone, as in Meredith wanted to pay Christopher a compliment so she told him she liked his new haircut. This expression uses pay in the sense of “give something that is due.” [ c. 1700 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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